Troops Return Home from Afghanistan

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri National Guard hosted a welcome home ceremony for the 70th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment Tuesday in Jefferson City. The troops spent the past nine months in southern Afghanistan, focusing on producing media content and telling stories. 

"It's been a really long year," Sgt. Clay Beyersdorfer said. "I honestly cannot be more proud of the team that I had going overseas. We faced a lot of obstacles along the way and as many rocks as we got thrown our way, we just kept dodging them."

"It feels amazing. It's been an incredibly long nine-month period. I'm just glad he's here, safe and in one piece, and I'm very proud of him," Beyersdorfer's mother Lea Lewis said.

Beyersdorfer said he learned a lot and was glad to be able to share stories from Afghanistan. 

"It was a unique experience because we got to embed with different units. The media gets so caught up in the special operations guys. All the movies come out and all the books come out. But that is a small fraction of the entire Army and the Army Forces. To be able to tell that story, it's been great. And that's an understatement."

Major Frank Analla said his experience was very unique because this was his first time working with a public affairs unit. He's previously worked on the front lines. 

"I couldn't be happier to serve with a bunch of professional soldiers who are young, vibrant and ready to get after it," Analla said. "They did a tremendous job. I learned a lot from them."

Unit members received six total awards for their service including a Purple Heart. 

"It's always good to get recognition. But at the end of the day, it's not about the awards. It's about completing the mission and being a part of something bigger than yourself," Beyersdorfer said.

"Like I told my soldiers, I can't take the credit for the work I did or the achievements I was recognized for. I surrounded myself with a great team. They're the ones who made it happen."

Analla said he plans to spend time with his family in Virginia before taking on his next mission.